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Hendrix Welcomes 11 New Faculty Members for 2022-23

Cohort includes assistant professors, librarian, and a Fulbright Scholar in Residence

CONWAY, Ark. (August 15, 2022) — Hendrix College welcomes eight new assistant professors, one new instructor, one assistant librarian, and one scholar in residence to the faculty for the 2022-2023 academic year:

  • Emmy Corey, Instructor of Religious Studies
  • Izat El Amoor, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Kyle Felling, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Melissa Freiley, Assistant Librarian for Technical Services
  • Ghaida Ghediri, Fulbright Scholar in Residence
  • Andy Huss, Assistant Professor of Art
  • Margo Kolenda-Mason, Assistant Professor of English
  • Lauren Ayn Lusk, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts
  • Celeste Reeb, Assistant Professor of English-Film and Media Studies
  • Lavinia Roberts, Assistant Professor and Murphy Fellow in Theatre Arts
  • Shamindri Tennakoon, Assistant Professor of Biology

Emmy Corey is a doctoral candidate in Ethics and Society. Her dissertation research focuses on the relationship between faith, healing, and the moral imagination at a group of faith-based USAID clinics in Nairobi, Kenya, that provide care and treatment for children and adolescents living with HIV. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, she illustrates the visions for collective, holistic healing that emerge through everyday practices of public health service delivery as practitioners and volunteers interpret, articulate, and imagine moral and theological possibilities for their communities and our global institutions. Emmy’s work in community-based organizations has influenced her commitment to scholarship centered on community engagement and social transformation. Her writing has appeared in Critical Research on Religion, Twentieth Century Anglican Theologians, Practical Matters, and the Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics. She received her BA from Birmingham-Southern College, her M.Div. from Candler School of Theology, and anticipates a fall defense of her dissertation. This fall, she will be teaching African Religions, Christianity and Social Justice, and Religion, Illness, and Healing. 

Izat El Amoor received his Ph.D. in the sociology of education in the Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities Department at New York University. He specializes in LGBTQ issues in Palestine with a focus on education, family life, and the Palestinian Queer Movement. He also studies LGBTQ life in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on political and cultural factors of LGBTQ change since the Arab uprisings erupted in 2011. His upbringing in both Palestinian and Israeli cultures has led to regular guest lectures and workshops on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of efforts to create a better understanding of the region in the U.S. El Amoor is a member of the selection committee for the FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) Fulbright program, which brings native Arabic speaker educators from Israel-Palestine to teach Arabic at American universities. His initial introduction to this program was as an instructor and cultural exchange ambassador. This fall he will teach Introduction to Sociology and Sociology of the Family.

Kyle Felling ’99 is an inorganic/analytical chemist with extensive industrial and academic laboratory experience. He brings expertise in gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometric methods, spectrophotometric, as well as many other chemical/physical analytical techniques. In addition to forming F.A.S.T. Laboratories, Felling served for eight years as the environmental laboratory manager for a leading energy company and has taught at the South Dakota School of Mines and the University of Central Arkansas, where he ran successful research laboratories in addition to his teaching responsibilities. He earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Hendrix College, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Alabama. Felling has received research funding for inorganic/analytical chemistry focusing in areas of fluorine chemistry, analytical separations, and the energy industry. He is a member of the American Chemical Society. In the fall semester he will teach General Chemistry, General Chemistry Lab, and Advanced Technology in Experimental Chemistry.

A new library faculty member arrived earlier this calendar year and will begin her first full academic year with the Hendrix community. Melissa Freiley joined Hendrix College’s Bailey Library in January 2022 as one of the three librarians on the faculty. As the new Assistant Librarian for Technical Services, she manages the catalog system, ensures that interlibrary loan requests are filled, and helps with library reference and research questions. Before arriving at Hendrix, Freiley worked at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, the University of North Texas (UNT), and Denton (Texas) Independent School District. She earned her Master of Science in Information Science from UNT in 2018 and her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Texas Woman’s University in 2006.

Ghaida Ghediri, a Fulbright Scholar in Residence for the 2022-23 academic year, earned her Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Legal, Political and Social Sciences–Carthage, in Tunis, Tunisia. She has experience with multiple international organizations, including as a member of the Tunisian Observatory for the Democratic Transition in Tunisia; the Tunisian Association of International Law; the Tunisian Association for the Defense of Children’s Rights; the Unit of Research Institutions and International Jurisdictions and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Legal, Political and Social Sciences-Carthage; and the Tunisian Association of Political Sciences. She is a lecturer at the University of Law and Political Sciences in Tunis and has academic experience as a researcher in France, Italy, and as a participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program in the U.S. in 2014. Ghediri will teach a Topics course on Human Rights and Gender this fall.

Andy Huss has served since 2019 as an adjunct faculty member at Hendrix, and this year moves into the role of Assistant Professor of Art. After earning his BFA from Northern Michigan University and his MFA in sculpture at the University of Michigan, Huss attended the University of Pennsylvania as a post-graduate student, where he spent a year studying under sculptor Robert Engman. He then worked as a full-time artist for around 30 years, taking jobs as a fabricator and model-maker. Huss continues to teach sculpture courses at the college and enjoys introducing students to both the medium and its history. He is represented by Boswell/Mourot Fine Art in Little Rock. This year he will be teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced sculpture and ceramics.

Margo Kolenda-Mason holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For her Bachelor of Arts degree, she triple-majored in English, Hispanic Studies, and Comparative Literature at Brandeis University. Kolenda-Mason’s academic interests center on the intersection of economics and literature and research issues of exchange, labor, and value in medieval and early modern literature, as well as methodological questions surrounding periodization and genre. She has presented at the Shakespeare Association of America, Renaissance Society of America, The International Congress on Medieval Studies, and The International Medieval Congress, as well as through other conferences and forums at the University of Michigan. Kolenda-Mason’s scholarly investment in resisting traditional periodization emerges in her pedagogy; she will teach Poetry and Introduction to Academic Writing this fall.

Lauren Ayn Lusk joins the Hendrix Department of Theatre Arts & Dance following four years as the Stagecraft Teacher, PAC Manager and Thespian Troupe 7955 Director for Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School. She earned her B.A. in Drama from the University of Arkansas and her M.F.A. in Scenic Design from Indiana University. After attending IU, she was the Resident Scenic Designer and Charge Artist for Midland Community Theatre in Midland, Texas for three years. While at MCT she designed and painted over 30 productions including her national award-winning scenic design of Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Since moving back to Arkansas, she has been the Assistant Director of Drama for Arkansas Governor’s School at Hendrix College for two summers and she has designed productions for the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts Children’s Theatre and for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This academic year she will teach Scenery & Lighting, Production Design, and Computer Aided Drafting.

Celeste Reeb earned a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon after attending Salisbury University for Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. In the spring of 2019, Reeb was unanimously selected by a University of Oregon committee as the recipient of the 2019-20 Jane Grant Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship, given annually by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, honors and supports a Ph.D. candidate in writing their dissertation on women and gender. Reeb’s dissertation topic, “Closed Captioning: Reading Between the Lines,” examined the way closed captioning language attempts to contain, mark, and categorize bodies based on gender, disability, sexuality, and race. Reeb will teach Introduction to Film Studies and a Topics course on Queering Fear in Horror Film this fall.

Lavinia Roberts Lavinia Roberts is a published and award-winning playwright, puppet designer, and educator. She has over 50 plays published with Applause Books, Big Dog Plays, Brooklyn Publishers, Heuer Publishing, Plays: The Drama Magazine for Young People, Pioneer Drama, Smith and Kraus, and others. Her work has been performed in all 50 states and internationally in nine other countries; it has been featured in New York City at The Barrow Group Theatre, The Center at West Park, Emerging Artist Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Kraine Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse, New York University, The Players Theatre, Roy Arias Studios, Theatre for the New City, The Wild Project, and other spaces. She has directed her work in New York City at The Sheen Center, The Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, The Tank, The Brick, and The Secret Theatre. Her educational resource book, A Little Drama; Playful Activities for Young Children is published with Redleaf Press. She will teach Introduction to Theatre at Hendrix this fall.

Shamindri Tennakoon is an invertebrate paleobiologist interested in the morphology and morphological deformations of fossil marine benthic invertebrates. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Peradeniy–Sri Lanka and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida, where she also worked with the Florida Museum of Natural History. Her dissertation research focused on morphological traits of marine invertebrates (specifically mollusks and echinoids) preserved in the fossil record and observed in recent specimens, which can be used to study underexplored biological processes through time. Tennakoon is interested in developing and conducting education and outreach activities in paleontology, particularly in programs aimed toward elementary through high school students, and in mentoring undergraduate students. She has a passion for making paleontology and field-work-based sciences more accessible and equitable. This fall, she will teach Evolution and courses and labs covering Environmental Biology and Fundamentals of Cellular Life.

Earlier this summer, the College announced two new members of the Board of Trustees.

In addition to the faculty named above, the Hendrix College Office of Academic Affairs announced a number of faculty and staff changes for the coming academic year.

Faculty with Changed Status in 2022-2023

Chris Camfield: promoted to Professor of Mathematics

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach: received title of Assistant Professor and Murphy Fellow in English-Creative Writing

Peter Gess: promoted to Professor of Politics

William Gorvine: promoted to Professor of Religious Studies

William Gunderson: awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry and appointed Odyssey Director

Julie Gunderson: awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Physics

Courtney Hatch: appointed Natural Sciences Area Chair

Latorya Hicks: converted to tenure-track position in the Department of Chemistry

Antonio Horne: awarded tenure

Cathy Jellenik: promoted to Professor of French

Peter Kett: awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry

Kiril Kolev: appointed as Associate Provost for Engaged Learning and Director of International Programs

Laura MacDonald: awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Biology

Carmen Merrick: converted to tenure-track position

Matthew D. Moran: retired

Sasha Pfau: awarded James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship

Ruth Yuste-Alonso: received title of Assistant Professor and Murphy Fellow in Spanish

New Academic Affairs Staff in 2022-2023

Christian Cutler: appointed Windgate Museum Director

Theo Maire: appointed as French House Coordinator

Tina Murdoch: appointed as Archivist in Bailey Library

Mark Sutherland: appointed as Covid Response Co-coordinator

Rita Woodward: appointed as Costume Designer and Shop Manager

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit